Heaven forbid that all the money we’re borrowing to address the coronavirus and its attendant economic and financial woes prompt anyone to question the money we’re spending to maintain the American empire. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:
To fight the coronavirus at home, France is removing all military forces from Iraq.
When NATO scaled back its war games in Europe because of the pandemic, Russia reciprocated. Moscow announced it would cancel its war games along NATO’s border.
Nations seem to be recognizing and responding to the grim new geostrategic reality of March 2020: The pandemic is the real enemy of us all, and while we fight it, each in his own national corner, we are in this together.
Never allow a serious crisis to go to waste, said Barack Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel during the financial crisis.
Emanuel was echoed this month by House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn, who called the coronavirus crisis “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.”
What Clyburn had in mind is what Democrats advanced as their alternative to the $2.2 trillion emergency bill. It was designed to force President Trump either to swallow it whole or to take responsibility for vetoing a critical transfusion of federal funds to keep the economy alive.
Among the items stuffed in the Democrats’ proposal:
A $15-an-hour minimum wage imposed on companies receiving funds. Blanket loan forgiveness of $10,000 for students. New tax credits for solar and wind energy. Full funding of Planned Parenthood. Federal dollars for fetal tissue research.
$300 million for PBS, which has been promoting the LBGT agenda to school kids. Mandating “diversity” on corporate boards as a condition of companies receiving funds. Election “reforms” to increase Democratic turnout. Insistence that airlines, to get a bailout, offset carbon emissions from jet engines. $35 million for the Kennedy Center.
One benefit of the coronavirus panic: the US is leaving some of its smaller military bases in foreign lands because of the virus. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:
“Red” (Morgan Freeman): “Hope is a dangerous thing my friend, it can kill a man…”
Andy (Tim Robbins): “Remember, Red. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
~ The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Two futures lie before us. Like the classic visions of late-Old Testament prophets, contemporary observers – perhaps voyeurs – of U.S. national security policy can, at this precipice of pandemic, discern, however vaguely, as dual, dichotomous prospective paths unfurl. The first, and Washington’s long-preferred, course is one of militarist escalation. It’s contours are there for us to see.
In the past couple of weeks, the Pentagon has unapologetically ramped up its proxy war with Iran – on the soil of an unmistakably unwilling “sovereign” state which has politely, if futilely, asked the US military to leave – by bombing, and killing, third-party “allies” of the Islamic Republic.
Then, though it was hardly covered or noticed, Washington killed a Somali child and an elderly disabled man in an airstrike: the 31st such US attack-from-the-sky in a Trump-accelerated campaign upon yet another country we are not at war with. US Africa Command announced, of course, that five “terrorists” had been killed in the strike with zero reports of civilian casualties. Well, naturally, it helps to have folks on the ground (hardly the norm for America’s techno-killers) to accurately access victim-status. Which is probably one reason – besides flagrant duplicity – that a UK-based airstrike monitoring group’s relevant report estimates Somali civilian casualties in US attacks since 2007 may be 73 times higher than official Pentagon claims.
Is the American government waging a full-spectrum-dominance hybrid war with the US? From Pepe Escobar at consortiumnews.com:
Among the myriad, earth-shattering geopolitical effects of coronavirus, one is already graphically evident. China has re-positioned itself. For the first time since the start of Deng Xiaoping’s reforms in 1978, Beijing openly regards the U.S. as a threat, as stated a month ago by Foreign Minister Wang Yiat the Munich Security Conference during the peak of the fight against coronavirus.
Beijing is carefully, incrementally shaping the narrative that, from the beginning of the coronavirus attack, the leadership knew it was under a hybrid war attack.
The terminology of President Xi Jinping is a major clue. He said, on the record, that this was war. And, as a counter-attack, a “people’s war” had to be launched.
Refusing to leave a country that’s supposedly an ally, and then waging war on it, definitely sounds like arrogance. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:
Look, I’m no doctor; not a scientist; certainly no expert in epidemiology. So I’ve kept silent, for the most part, on the Coronavirus. Being more than a little out of my depth on the subject, I’ll continue to do so. Nonetheless, it is striking how the disease outbreak has swallowed the news cycle whole, totally blotted out the sun of reportage on America’s ongoing militarist wars. While almost certainly not the cause or initial motive, 24/7 Corona-coverage has been convenient for the establishment media and political elites: a beyond-reproach justification for total blackout for U.S. wars and violent interventions that continue to kill our soldiers and – in far greater numbers – foreigners unlucky enough to live in the vast, contested expense from West Africa to Central Asia.
Generally, I’m a decidedly Occam’s Razor sort of guy: which is to say, one who never rules out the preeminence of contingency and rank incompetence as an explanatory tool for world events. Conspiracy peddling is hardly my go-to position. Still, however this Corona emergency turns out – passing (let’s hope) panic or zombie apocalypse – it must be said that the wall-to-wall disease reporting serves as an opportune disciplining tool. To wit, while it’s totally acceptable to utilize Corona as a cudgel – by the establishment “Left,” and it’s peculiar neoconservative allies – to batter (perhaps somewhat appropriately) Donald Trump, any critical analysis of the media response and it’s failure to report other war-related news is beyond the pale. Count me skeptical of the polite, prevailing band of admissible discourse.
Once upon a time there was a village right next to a volcano. The villagers spent much of their time watching the volcano, which perpetually sputtered, smoked, and fumed. When they first awakened, they’d look up to it. At night they’d watch its lava glow against the dark sky. A special class of villagers instructed them on how to interpret the volcano and how they must live their lives to propitiate it.
Much of what the village produced was gathered by the special class, an offering tax that was supposedly left in a secret spot at the foot of the volcano (somehow the special class always lived better than everyone else). Unusually intense rumblings of the volcano terrified the villagers. The special class would tell them what village security demanded—usually higher offering taxes and more power for the special class—to prevent an eruption. One day there was an earthquake. A fissure opened and swallowed the entire village and its special class. The volcano never erupted.
Turn on the news and chances are the story concerns the special class. History books are mostly chronicles of the special class—their wars, machinations, depredations, follies, all-too-rare wisdom, monuments to themselves, and the invasions and revolutions that occasionally upend them. It goes far beyond propaganda or brainwashing, it is simply an ingrained fixation, accepted by virtually everyone, that attention must always be on the special class and its volcano—government.
We look up to the special class and their governments and ignore that which will render them irrelevant details—the tectonic shifts below. They perpetuate the illusion of control and many of the subjugated want to believe, but the illusion has always given way to failure and irrelevancy and always will.
“I will note this, she’s from Hawaii,” King said of Gabbard. “She’s a congresswoman from Hawaii; American Samoa votes on Super Tuesday. The rules as they now stand, if you get a delegate, you’re back in the debates. As of now. Correct?”
“Yeah, they haven’t, I mean, that’s been the rule for every single debate,” Thompson replied. “And the DNC has not released their official guidance for the March 15 debate in Phoenix, but it would be very obvious that they are trying to cancel Tulsi, who they’re scared of a third party run, if they then change the rules to prevent her to rejoin the debate stage.”
And indeed, as the smoke clears from the Super Tuesday frenzy, this is precisely what appears to have transpired.
Random but pertinent musings from Caitlin Johnstone at medium.com:
Assange, verb. Use: To be assanged. Meaning: when the nationless alliance of elites imprison a dissident by using their power to manipulate vagaries in the laws of their respective nations. Eg “I have information on war crimes that I should leak but I don’t want to be assanged.”
Murderous governments who deceive their citizenry are not entitled to any degree of secrecy whatsoever.
A society is only as free as its most troublesome truth-teller.
The large and enthusiastic Assange demonstrations in the UK have filled me with gratitude and love, but they’ve also made me ashamed of Australia. Those crowds dwarf anything I’ve seen here in Melbourne, and he’s our man. The Brits are defending an Australian citizen better than Australia is.
This is what happens when you use the same mass media propaganda that’s used everywhere else on a population whose only cultural value is not getting worked up about things. Wake up, Australia! For fuck’s sake, now is the time to start caring about something!
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